When the Raiders selected Bryan Edwards in the third round of the 2020 NFL Draft, they did so because he was an extremely physical receiver. In South Carolina, he regularly outperformed muscular high school players, such as Trevon Diggs and Patrick Surtain II in Alabama.
After picking Henry Ruggs III as the No.12 pick that year, they wanted to pair him with a big receiver who could win in contested areas. It took a while, but Edwards is starting to show the rest of the league that the Raiders were right to pick him so high.
According to Pro Football Focus, no NFL player scores better in contested capture situations than Edwards. He wins consistently when the ball is in the air and finds ways to end with contact. While contested shots aren’t a big part of offense for the Raiders, it’s nice to have someone on the roster who thrives in those situations.
Top receiving scores on contested targets this season:
Bryan Edwards – 93.1
Terry McLaurin – 91.4
DJ Moore – 91.3 pic.twitter.com/R66z8kdeNj
– PFF (@PFF) September 30, 2021
In three weeks, Edwards totaled 210 yards on just 13 targets for the Raiders. As he and Derek Carr continue to bond, it’s fair to assume he’ll see more work in the passing game.
For now, Edwards is a very efficient receiver that is used in a very specific part of the field for the Raiders. However, look for his role to gradually expand as he becomes more comfortable offensive.